Palace vows 'fair, thorough' probe on death of 2 Vietnamese fishermen


ILLEGAL FISHING? Two Vietnamese fisherman were killed while 5 others were arrested on Saturday, September 23, some 60 nautical miles off the coast of Bolinao, Pangasinan.

"Authorities are now conducting a fair and thorough investigation into the incident involving a Philippine Navy vessel and Vietnamese fishing boats, which were seen fishing 34 nautical miles off Cape Bolinao in Pangasinan, well within the exclusive economic zone", Presidential Spokesman Ernesto C. Abella said in a Palace briefing. Navy personnel fired warning shots, but the boat continued to flee, at which point warning shots were fired "toward the vessel", the report said.

It said the fishing boat disregarded repeated calls to stop and "made unsafe maneuvers".

Vietnam's foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday that it has ordered the embassy in Manila to contact local authorities for further update and take necessary measures to protect the remaining fishermen.

The Northern Luzon Command said they chased the Vietnamese fishermen who tried to evade arrest.

The Philippines and Vietnam have been close diplomatic allies when it comes to the South China Sea, most of which is claimed by China.

"The officers boarded and searched the boat, resulting in the apprehension of the five and they found the two dead bodies". There were six bullet holes in the boat, the report said, and the Vietnamese were later determined to have died from gunshot wounds.

Foreign fishermen have often been caught trespassing in Philippine waters.

A Vietnamese embassy delegation visited the detained fishermen on Sunday afternoon.

On September 24, during a meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh voiced protest against the use of violence against fishermen and requested that the Philippines quickly investigates the case. Taiwan imposed sanctions before the row was diplomatically resolved.